Building a green roof on my shed

Written by katherine kally
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Building a green roof on my shed
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Structure

Before your build a green roof on your shed, you should first determine that the roof has enough of a pitch to allow the water to run off and that the roof support is adequate to support the layers of soil, plant material, and water that is inherent in a green roof design. Ideally, the pitch of your shed roof should be between 2 and 20 degrees. A simple lightweight green roof weighs between 5.9 and 13.6 Kilogram per square foot, not counting the water your plants will need or any snow weight that you may incur. If your shed roof is not strong enough, you can reinforce it rather easily by adding support beams or posts.

Containment

The first step in building a green roof on your shed is to construct a containment barrier around the perimeter of the roof to hold the planting materials. If you make your barrier out of wood, use rot-resistant, pressure-treated lumber. Cut slots into the bottom edge of the barrier so that water will continue to drain from your green roof. Cover the drainage openings with screen to keep the soil from washing away. Building a green roof on a shed with a roof pitch of more than 20 degrees requires the addition of wood or metal barriers placed on top of the root proof membrane in a checkerboard pattern to avoid erosion of your plant material, as well as to keep it from sliding out of place.

Layers

The first layer of a green roof is the waterproof and root-proof membrane. Your shed likely has a waterproof layer already, but you need to add another layer that is also root-proof. A heavy duty pond liner held in place with a waterproof sealant will do the trick. If you need to add wood or metal barriers to hold your plants in place, do so carefully so as not to tear the liner. Cover the root-proof membrane with a protective mat, like old carpet, to support the planting materials. Your next layer is a drainage layer, particularly if your shed roof has a pitch of less than 10 degrees. If your roof is pitched more than 10 degrees, drainage may occur naturally. Gravel or shale would work well as a natural drainage layer. Next, add a layer of pebbles around the perimeter of the shed roof to deter vegetation and to help keep the drainage outlets clear. The next layer is a filter layer which holds the soil in place. Landscape fabric is ideal for this purpose, but you should not cover the entire shed roof if the pitch is more than 10 degrees, as it may become a slip layer. In this case, place your filter layer around the perimeter of the roof. Your next layer is the substrate, or soil. The type of soil mixture that you choose should be based on the types of plants you select for your green roof. Add the soil, and then turn your shed roof green with vegetation.

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